How many decoys do you need to hunt spring snow geese in Alberta?

Well, spring snow goose season is upon us now. It’s probably a month yet till they actually get here but we better start talking about it and getting ready for it. Spring goose season has been available in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for a while now and just opened in Alberta three years ago. My dad and I had always wanted to give spring goose hunting a try but we were always intimidated by the number of decoys you’d have to get. Anything we read or heard about referred to having to use 1000 decoys or more. Three years ago, in an effort to get more time for us and our dogs in the field, we finally broke down and booked a 3 day guided hunt in Saskatchewan to give it a try. When we got there we were actually surprised to find that they only put out about 400 or 500 decoys and that made us realize that it was actually feasible for us to do it ourselves. The following year I organized 5 of us to get away for a weekend hunt. To be able to come on the hunt each guy was responsible for bringing 2 dozen windsock decoys each. This gave us only 120 decoys to put out. In addition to these, we also picked up 6 flapping decoys to mount on 5-foot poles and a homemade electronic call. We went out near Lougheed, Alberta and set up for our first hunt in a field that had less than 1000 geese on it the day before. We didn’t know what to expect, being our first spring snow goose hunt on our own and having only a small amount of decoys. What we found out was that this setup worked. We didn’t get our limit but we did have geese coming in steady and had a pretty fun hunt and gave the dogs a workout. Our second day was just as successful. For the third day, we found a huge field of geese with a couple thousand geese feeding on it and we were really excited about the hunt ahead.  Most of the morning though we spent watching big flocks of geese fly over and land in another part of the field. Once a flock of geese sets down, its kind of hard to compete with them in attracting other flocks. The only thing we could think that went wrong was the number of decoys we had. We didn’t think we had enough to attract the big tornadoes of snows we’ve heard about and planned to add to our spread the next year. After that first hunt, I’m convinced that you don’t need a lot of decoys to start out. The important thing is to get out in the field and have some fun. You will want to build your number of decoys over time but starting with 120 windsocks worked for our first season in Alberta and it should work for you too. you don’t need to worry about the hard shell decoys for snow geese. My feeling is, that you want to add volume and a little movement to the decoy spread using windsocks and not to worry too much about realistic decoys when hunting snow geese. My dad says that when he was younger they just used white shopping bags with a lump of dirt in them for decoys. With the snows less than a month away from migrating through Alberta we better start getting ready for a good season. I’m getting ready by going to the Edmonton Boat and Sportsman show this weekend and looking for some new ideas and gadgets. Once the weather starts warming up I’ll be painting my new blind prototype and covering it and posting more news on that project here on the site.  


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